The Corner

Turkey

Without at this point wishing to return to yesterday’s liberalism and/or democracy discussion, or for that matter, to examine for now the darker corners of Ataturk’s record, there’s no doubt that the father of modern Turkey understood the importance of secularism in assisting Turkey’s recovery from Ottoman torpor and decay, and there’s not much more doubt that he would have been horrified by this report from the Washington Post :   “ANKARA (Reuters) – A majority of Turks say a ban on women wearing the Muslim headscarf in public offices and universities should be lifted and just two fifths favor a military government, according to a poll published on Wednesday. The survey, conducted by scholars from two Istanbul universities and published in the liberal Radikal daily, shows Turkey, a Muslim but secular country that hopes to join the European Union, to be conservative on social and moral issues. Three fifths of those canvassed attributed failure in life to a lack of religious faith and said they would oppose their daughter marrying a non-Muslim. Nearly a third said boys and girls should be taught in separate classes at school. The results of the poll make fairly pleasant reading for Turkey’s ruling AK Party, which has Islamist roots, showing two thirds back its efforts — so far unsuccessful — to relax a ban on women students and civil servants wearing the headscarf. “   There are those that view the AK as an Islamic equivalent of Italy’s postwar Christian Democrats, legitimate advocates for social and religious conservatism and perfectly compatible with a modern liberal democracy.   I’ve yet to be convinced…

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